Cinematique Instruments Marble from Bestservice
A Full Kontakt instrument with over 900 presets ideal for cinematic and pop music in general that can add a beautiful, mellow atmosphere to your production.
by Alex Arsov, Jan 2017
This is a full Kontakt based instrument that produces a wide variety of modern atmospheric, down-tempo, chill, electro, and floaty sounds appropriate for any cinematic or even non-cinematic, slow, emotive music – electro, pop, rock, or any other genre. Emotive? Yes, actually most of the Marble sounds, presets and instruments have this emotive, sensual sort of vibe that makes Marble quite unique, filling a quite specific niche. A very modern “electro, but still organic” sounding collection that sounds fantastic in combination with some live instruments, guitars or even the whole orchestra, being very good on its own or even in combination with other synths.
The most interesting fact is that the main sources for all these “electro” sounds are live instruments: strings, guitars, various percussion, flute, marimba and few others along with just a synth or two for a good measure. All those analog sources give a very organic character to the unique, pulsating, electro presets. Some presets offer preprogrammed melodic lines triggered with every note. I found that almost all of those melodies are programmed with an internal sequencer, so changing melodies, adapting them to your needs, or just making them more unique, is an easy, interesting and fun task, even making me change my mind about the large number of drum patterns and loops that come with this instrument. At the beginning I thought they were a total waste of space and time, but after realizing that most of the rhythms are also produced with internal pair of sequencers (every preset is made from two sound slots and every sound slot has its own step sequencer), making this limited number of included percussive loops a nice base for making an array of unique new loops.
At first I also thought that Marble was a rather pricey product, but considering all this internal flexibility that allows us to easily make and even save new presets, not to mention that Marble already comes with 900 presets, most of them unique and with pleasant character, I found that after all it is quite a fair price. So, here is the result of my of my first five minutes spent with this instrument (after I’d watched video tutorials and made my way through the manuals).
The whole interface is divided into four parts accessible through the menu in the upper part of the main Marble window. The Master section is the default one that you get when you load Marble into Kontakt. There you can set some basic things, like the tempo, according to the host tempo. We can choose between 4th, 16th, 8th, so called triolic, swing, 32nd, and a few other variations. You can also freeze the currently played sequence, setting endless loops for when using Marble live. There are a few other options in the Master section, but the most interesting option, actually a controller, is a big knob that allows us to apply the effects sent from the Assign page. This one is controlled through the mod-wheel, the most basic option for modulating the sound character in one move.
The editing part, or the “Track” section as they call it, is the place where we can build a preset from scratch or just change some of the basic parameters, changing the main character of the preset. Every preset in this instrument is compiled from two sound sources presented in two parallel sound engines, each one with its own step-sequencer that can control various parameters. Volume, Pan, Length, Tune, Reverse, Shape, Filter and Stutter. I know it sounds like an ordinary job, but when you put some of those functions through the step sequencer, where you can draw various values for every parameter separately, things become quite interesting and unique.
I have to admit that those Cinematique fellows really did a good job with all the included presets and provided some really inspiring combinations. In the same window we can also set the amount of reverb and delay, along with the number of steps, and a time-shift function. Usually I get a bit lost in these step sequencers and don’t always get the best results, but somehow I found my way immediately with these two step sequencers and quite enjoyed messing around with them. Of course I did this more or less with presets with preprogrammed melody lines, to make them more unique or simply to fit the into my arrangements, and of course I did the same with some drum loops to make them less ordinary and less recognizable. Speaking of presets, they are arranged in a wide array of categories. It is quite easy to find what you are looking for as all directories have self-explanatory names, so it literally took me just five minutes to compile demo, quickly finding an appropriate one. As the whole library weighs in at barely over 400 MB, loading time for each preset is the same as it is for most virtual synthesizers, so there will be no reading books and educating yourself with tutorial video clips between presets, as it is the case with some of the weightier libraries.
The last section is the Assign section where we can assign additional parameters for both engines, but again, this is not all. Actually all those parameters could be driven through so-called 127-step table, actually some other sort of step sequencer with 127 steps where we can apply some existing curves or draw new ones for all parameters on the Assign page. General volume for every engine, drive, saturation, reverb, bit resolution, convolution FX, lowpass filter and many more. I didn’t spent much time on that page, as more or less, most of the presets are perfect, having been programmed with a fine measure of imagination, so all I did was play around a bit with the step sequencers on the Track page.
Every instrument or library that offers a lot of presets has a number of good, useful presets balanced with the ballast ones, and even if I was not so impressed with some of the basic drum loop presets (not so bad, but nothing extraordinary) I have to admit there is an impressive number of versatile and useful, great-sounding, inspiring presets. Even those ordinary drum loops can easily be turned into something more interesting and, truth be told, there are also a lot of percussive loops that are pretty good and fit perfectly into any down-tempo electro production.
This is a very specific library. It fills a specific niche and it maybe it isn’t for all tastes. But so far, at least for me, this is just perfect for adding some interesting emotive and sensitive details that are full of movements to any mid-to-slow tempo pop, indie or electro production. It is a very airy, wide sounding library with plenty of versatile presets that almost all have deep and pleasant organic sounding low end and sparkling bubbling highs. The company that stands behind Marble calls itself Cinematique Instruments, and therefore this library is aimed primary for cinematic needs. But it also seems to be a perfect match for all sorts of non-cinematic songs, which is not always the case with cinematic tools. An impressive library that sounds like one of those 50 GB libraries, except weighing just a bit over 400 MB. Impressive in every way.
More info at https://www.bestservice.de/en/marble.html
€220 EUR, full version of Kontakt required.